OT: Homeschooling

Good morning everyone! I am starting a little early (my DD is 4 1/2 months) but I am researching homeschooling and have some questions and want some advice. First, what are some good websites for info? I am a pretty smart person, but there are subjects I am horrible at (math ewwww). What do I do about teaching math? In general what sort of advice do you have on homeschooling?
Thanks a bunch:)


Hey shellebelle! I was homeschooled from 3rd grade through high school. In most states, there are homeschool co-op classes where kids get together and are taught math, science, English, choir, drama, etc. by either a parent with expertise in that area or an outside teacher. I took Chemistry, Biology, Anatomy & Physiology, several history classes, drama, and choir through these classes.

For earlier levels, most homeschool curriculum suppliers have teachers’ guides with hints about how to teach different topics.

For legal issues, try the Home School Legal Defense Association. The Wikipedia article on homeschooling has some good links at the bottom of the page.

I hope this helps! Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions. (I’m not sure how well I can answer them, but I’ll certainly try!)

Hi Shell! That’s great news!!! I don’t think it’s ever too early to start thinking about homeschooling…it’s a pretty big undertaking. I was very interested in homeschooling our children, but was unable to convince my husband to go along with it. But I collected some helpful books in my enthusiasm, and maybe they might help to recommend them to you? There might be books you even have available through the local library so you don’t have to buy them. :shrug: I had talked to some homeschooling parents on line a while back and they said that they used their libraries a lot for curriculum instead of buying a lot to save on cost. The E.D. Hirsch books (“What Your ____ Grader Needs to Know”) are pretty helpful. They run from kindergarten through sixth grade; I think they average about $13 a piece, but Amazon has used ones for cheaper, too.

First Grader
Second Grader
Third Grader
Fourth Grader
Fifth Grader
Sixth Grader

This book might be helpful, too: Homeschooling on a Shoestring.

Good luck to you! :heart:

I homeschool my daughter, she’s in kindy this year. Definitely check out the HSDLA link that was posted. We’re using McRuffy Press for phonics and it’s wonderful!

Good Luck!

Cookworm, I’m so sorry you couldn’t bring your husband around to the idea of homeschooling. Just look at how much mom’s teach their children up to the age of 5 or so, when they turn their little bodies and minds over to a government institution. Who could possibly have more of an interest in their future than their parent? :neutral: Still, for it to be successfull, it really does require the cooperation, at least, if not participation, of both parents.

Shell, before investing in too much in the way of curriculum, talk to alot of homeschoolers, go to the library and read what you can find. As was suggested, call around and see if there are homeschool co-ops in your area. If you’re in a large area, there may be more than one. Not all will be a good fit for your child and your family. Some co-ops are christian oriented, and some are not. Find out what they consist of and attend a meeting or two with different ones before committing to one you think will fit your family best.

Also, check around and see where there is a homeschooling conference held near you. I think most are held in the spring. Various curriculum vendors will be set up with booths, and can answer your questions about their curriculum. Plus, there are generally workshops you can attend. Though I’ve never attended a conference myself, every person I’ve known who has came back totally pumped up and ready to embrace the new homeschooling year. This can be most helpful ifyou’ve been doing it awhile and may be starting to feel a bit burned out (it happens).

Oh, and be sure and take your checkbook with you. Though purchasing at the conferences isn’t a requirement, you’ll undoubtedly find things you will want to purchase, and they always give you a good discount by purchasing there, over what it will cost you to order it online later.

Lastly, in the early years, you don’t really need to stress over having alot of curriculum. I’ve known plenty of people who’ve used nothing more than common sense, creativity, and the library as their resources for the first few years. Spend lots of time reading to them!

I homeschooled my daughter from 3rd grade through high school. I know many families who’ve homeschooled their children from their beginning schooling years right through high school. Many of their children are now in colleges, graduate programs, etc. One friend has a daughter who just entered Anapolis Naval Academy this year. Don’t let anyone try and tell you that homeschooling will leave your children short in their education.

I’m homeschooling my son. He’s in 8th grade, and has been totally homeschooled. I do use a pre-picked curriculum with specific things listed to accomplish each day. Not only is this good for my child, but it really helps me keep on track, since I’m basically lazy.

I’m using a Christian supplier now, but will be switching to a totally Catholic on when he hits High School. They will be taking care of the grading and such, instead of me. And don’t worry, I stunk at science, but we seem to be doing OK.

Lynda M
1992-2006 Homer

i’m finishing up a high school course on AOP i’m using SOS (switched on schoolhouse) which is all on computer, so u wouldn’t have to do much teaching at all with that, though u probably would have to teach the child how to read first. i dont know much about the lower grade curriculum, but its worked for me.

This is our 10th year of homeschooling!! I’d second the advice to attend a homeschool conference/convention if you possibly can. Also, if you can read some general homeschooling books it will help you narrow down what kind of approach you want to use. (Lisa Whelchel has one -check the library) Another good one is “A Charlotte Mason Companion.” My fav website for homeschooling has been www.welltrainedmind.com, which focuses on classical education. A great math curriculum, esp. if you are worried about it, is math U see, check out their website at www.mathusee.com.
The hardest thing (to me) about homeschooling is trying to narrow down curriculum choices - there’s a ton of good stuff out there. That’s why it might help you to read some general hs books to figure out how you want to do things - use a textbook approach, living books, classical, etc. I loved Five in A Row when my boys were little – www.fiveinarow.com. Have fun investigating. There’s lots to check out, so you’re wise to start now and take your time.

That’s exactly right, Rennagayle. Granted, there are nitwits out there who decide that their kids “don’t need” math, science, or spelling classes, but like any effort, homeschooling is what you make of it. Just look at the graphs - on average, homeschooled children score better on national exams than their peers, whether or not their parents are trained teachers.

Also, be prepared for the dreaded “socialization” issue to come up when you announce your decision to friends and family. Inevitably, someone will try and point out to you that your kids will miss out on socialization, and will be socially crippled.

Socialization is actually defined as the process by which the norms and standards of our society are passed from one generation to the next; a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.

I, for one, didn’t want my daughter learning her standards of behaviour from other children her age who may or may not be taught anything at home regarding good morals or values, whose standards may be much lower than the ones we set for our family.

Wow, thank you all so much for all the info. I have already heard about the socializing “issue”. I am glad I am starting the reseach early because there are so many choices apparently. I know what sort of program I am looking for, I just have to find it now!

This is one of the biggest reasons I wanted to homeschool, and it still is a huge concern for me. It’s why the schools spend about 80% of their time trying to teach kids things like how to behave, about “feelings”, how to treat others equally, etc.–things kids should be learning at home but may not be (character development). I don’t like some things the school feels they have a right teaching my child too–it’s still my child, even though they may have access to them for six hours a day or so. If there’s things I don’t believe in teaching here at home, why is it okay that the school can pound it into my kids’ brains? :grrr: Parents are and should be their child’s biggest teacher and influence, teaching them their beliefs and morals. You’re 100% right, Rennagayle.

That is also one of the big reasons we want to homeschool too. We have some pretty strong values and views that are pretty much opposite of what schools are pushing.

I feel I’d be amiss if I didn’t invite you all over to “my” place. :wink:

I co-own and co-host a homeschooling forum on the web. I am not responsible for it’s existence, as I’m completely technilogically and cyberly challenged. :oops: It’s been in existance for many years, and I and my partner, Marilyn, took it over from it’s predecessors about 5 years ago. Marilyn is the brains behind the operation, though she’s always quick to deny it.

Anyway, I’m not plugging it for financial gain. Though it does cost a nominal feel to advertise your used curriculum, it doesn’t cost a cent to read and participate in the forums. We are primarily a christian group, though we open our doors to all. Bottom line is that it’s a great place to get your questions answered regarding homeshooling. There’s many years of accumulated experience among the ladies there (we even have a few dads who occasionally post).

If you’re interested, the link is in my signature line below. I just wanted you all to know you’re welcome to visit; and if any of you should come and get so far as to register and post, be sure and tell us you’re from KnittingHelp so I can say “hey!”. :waving:

Oh, and Shell, I just want to reinterate one thing. At your dd’s age (4 1/2), the very best thing you can do to be preparing her for her academic future is to read, read, read to her! She’ll love it, and you’ll love all that cuddling time while you guys are doing it. :hug:

And while you’re reading to her, show her what a letter T looks like. Tell her what sound it makes, and make a game of finding and sounding out all the T’s on the page. She’ll learn phonics before you know it!

And while you’re reading to her, show her what a letter T looks like. Tell her what sound it makes, and make a game of finding and sounding out all the T’s on the page. She’ll learn phonics before you know it!

Yes! That’s one of the advantages of homeschooling. As long as you don’t try and imitate the public school, and do everything the way they do it, your child can continue to enjoy learning. For the most part, public schools manage to quickly suck the joy right out of learning, and quickly get across to children that learning is hard and boring. It doesn’t have to be that way! :cheering:

The thing is, though, I have a math handicap and I am seriously lacking in the departments of history and government and geography. I only learned what I wanted to learn. I am not well rounded. I want my son to be able to learn whatever he wants to learn. If he sees a building, I want him to be able to know the math and engineering and everything else it takes to construct it. If he asks a question, I want it to be fully answered. I would think that if a biology teacher were asked a biology question he could answer it better than I could.

What do homeschoolers do about this situation as the child grows older?

This is a great thread. I just wanted to mention that http://www.mothering.com has a great Homeschooling forum. You can read all about different homeschooling approaches there (unschooling, Montessori-style homeschooling, Waldorf-style homeschooling, etc.).

Also, don’t get too overwhelmed with it. It really is astonishing how LITTLE time it takes to teach a single child the same things that they take all day to learn in a public school. Regular schools have to spend a fair amount of their day on things that have nothing to do with learning… waiting in line, marking names off, dealing with kids who are rebelling, etc. Not to mention the problems inherent in having to try to teach a bunch of kids the same thing at the same pace.

As far as socialization, ditto what other posters have said AND, just wanted to add, many homeschools have local coops you can join where everybody gets together for stuff, so you can always use that info to retaliate if necessary. :slight_smile: Personally, I do think playing with other KIDS is important for socialization, but I don’t think there’s any value in learning ONLY to play with kids your own age. It seems to have a divisive effect, but that’s just my opinion.

Good luck with your endeavors and that Mothering site has some really good info.

That is where a homeschooling co-op is an invaluable resource. Parents contribute their time to take turns teaching classes. Inevitably, there will be a parent willing to teach courses that some parents don’t feel qualified to teach their children.

Sometimes, the dad is strong in an area where ‘Mom’ is lacking, and can teach that subject to the child/children.

Also, there are satellite classes which children can take. They are actually “seeing” the teacher via satellite, and can actively participate in the class. They are, understandably, not cheap, but I’ve known many parents who utiltized satellite schools to completely teach their children.

edit to add: Just as in when a child in public school is struggling with learning a subject in class, you can always consider hiring a private tutor for a particular subject.

I also homeschool my daughter and son (5th and 1st) and I find that with the curriculum, you get the teachers guide and depending on what you get, it’s really helpful in teaching math concepts or history or whatever subject. We have a school near us that caters to homeschoolers so when my kids get into the higher levels of math and science, they can go to this school for those classes.

Thanks for the link to the homeschool site!